Xi Jinping, President of China, visited Germany with a bit of an ulterior motive in mind. While there to follow up on the Nuclear Security Summit, as he had been doing with numerous European nations within the same week, he was also there to issue a subtle slight against Japan. Jinping claims that Japan has not apologized enough for damaged done to China during the Second World War. Germany, despite being favored by Jinping’s claims as a more apologetic nation, did not take kindly to the comparison.
This is not the first time China has made these claims, and Germany is unhappy. As a nation which already dislikes having previous wars brought to mind, they especially did not like the way in which their past was being used against Japan, one of their allies in the war. Chancellor Angela Merkel was reported to have turned down offers to go with Jinping as he visited the New Guardhouse, a WWII memorial to fallen German soldiers.
Michael Clauss, German diplomat to China, stated in very clear terms that Germany wishes to maintain close ties with both China and Japan, and does not wish to be involved in one nation’s disputes with another, especially not if Germany stands to be at the apex of the argument. While he states that his nation does indeed maintain an apologetic stance toward WWII, he does not see that as something that should be browbeaten in an attempt to make another nation look bad. He also pointed out that peace did not arise simply as a result of one nation’s apologetic stance, but also by the reception of such a stance by the rest of Europe. In other words, he feels there is no point in Japan’s apologies if China does not appear ready to hear them, The Diplomat reports.
Despite the implications that statements by some Chinese politicians may carry, Japan has indeed apologized for its part in WWII many times in the past. One of the most memorable apologies issued included Prime Mister Tomiichi Murayama breaking out into the song “We Shall Overcome.” Murayama also stated that the ambitions of Imperial rule had impacted not just China, but the entire region.
While Japan does indeed seem apologetic, it seems clear that China wants something more. Considering that they are currently engaged in a number of disputes regarding territory, speculation has risen in regards to what they might really be asking. Either way, Germany has made it clear that they will have no part in the conflict.